The Houston Astros added slugger Trey Mancini to the fold in a swap with the Baltimore Orioles. Mancini, to say the least, has gotten his Houston career off to a scorching start, and it’s a reminder of what he could mean to the Astros down the stretch.
In his second game since the trade, he homered against the Red Sox, and then on Friday night in Cleveland he went deep twice in a 9-3 win over the Guardians. His first homer of the night helped him make a bit of history:
And his second homer of the night was the first grand slam of his MLB career:
At this writing, Mancini has three hits as an Astro, and all three of those hits have been home runs. After Friday night’s big performance, he’s now slashing .268/.345/.425 on the season. No, Mancini is not going to continue hitting three home runs every eight at-bats for Houston, but he’s going to be a steady power source down the stretch and in the postseason. That’s first and foremost because he’s a very good hitter, and it’s also because he’s going to be a much better fit in his new home ballpark.
You’ll recall that the Orioles prior to the season adjusted the left-field dimensions at Camden Yards. The new left-field wall is approximately 30 feet farther from home plate than it used to be, as well as five feet taller, according to estimates made by The Baltimore Sun. While Mancini has power to all fields, he was hurt badly by those changes in Baltimore. Now he’s in Houston, which features perhaps the most accommodating left-field porch in all of MLB. Perhaps not coincidentally, Mancini has shown a more pull-heavy approach since the trade. Yes, the data sample is ludicrously small, but it bears watching to see whether that trend continues.
We know Mancini has plenty of power. He has a 35-homer season to his credit, and after missing all of 2020 he hit 21 out last year in. Now that he’s in a home ballpark that isn’t actively working against him — and will very likely help him significantly — you might see the return of peak Mancini.